TLSWikipedia all-conquering

The all-conquering encyclopedia of the twenty-first century is, famously, the first such work to have been compiled entirely by uncredentialled volunteers. It is also the first reference work ever produced as a way of killing time during coffee breaks. Not the least of Wikipedia’s wonders is to have done away with the drudgery that used to be synonymous with the writing of reference works. An army of anonymous, tech-savvy people – mostly young, mostly men – have effortlessly assembled and organized a body of knowledge unparalleled in human history. “Effortlessly” in the literal sense of without significant effort: when you have 27,842,261 registered editors (not all of them active, it is true), plus an unknown number of anonymous contributors, the odd half-hour here and there soon adds up to a pretty big encyclopedia.
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Boys who live with books ‘earn more as adults’

Three economists at the University of Padua – Giorgio Brunello, Guglielmo Weber and Christoph Weiss – studied 6,000 men born in nine European countries and concluded that children with access to books could expect to earn materially more than those who grow up with few or no books. They studied the period from 1920 to 1956, when school reforms saw the minimum school leaving age raised across Europe. They looked at whether, at the age of 10, a child lived in a house with fewer than 10 books, a shelf of books, a bookcase with up to 100 books, two bookcases, or more than two bookcases.
From Boys who live with books ‘earn more as adults’ | Education | The Guardian
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Modern Public Libraries Can Help Bridge the Digital Divide

Yet the digital revolution has proved not to be the demise of libraries, but their rebirth — and today, they are more relevant than ever to the people and communities they serve. Many patrons come to us as generations before them did, in search of good books and helpful research materials. Others, like Kim, pass through our doors determined to change the course of their lives. Taken together, their stories signal a bright future for our society’s most democratic institution.
From Modern Public Libraries Can Help Bridge the Digital Divide – Next City
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The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu

JOSHUA HAMMER’S new book, “The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu”, traces the story of hundreds of thousands of medieval texts as they are rescued in 2012 from near-destruction by jihadists linked to al-Qaeda in Mali. It is at once a history, caper and thriller, featuring a superherolibrarian, Abdel Kader Haidara, as the saviour of an entire culture’s heritage.
From Paper trail | The Economist
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Library Metadata Specialist – Accidental Computer Programmer

So by accident or design you found yourself in a position that involves computer programming. A common situation for library metadata specialists. I recall projects in graduate school where we mapped records from one metadata format or standard into another. Yet, we never discussed who creates the scripts to transform the records with your mapping (spoiler: its probably you). The result of this for me, someone who did not come from a computer science background, was getting the skills I needed through a mixture of things recommended by mentors, co-workers, and internet searches. Here is what worked best for me.
From Library Metadata Specialist – Accidental Computer Programmer – Heidi Uphoff
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LYRASIS, DuraSpace Leaders Discuss Dissolved Merger

“I think we’re both looking at this aspirationally,” Miller said. “It’s not ‘what went wrong?’ If anything there was a reinvigoration, ensuring that missions are supported well…. At the end of the day, I think our communities are going to benefit from this…. We’re not for-profits, we don’t have marketing budgets, but maybe this, in some ways, has helped showcase some things that institutions might not have known about DuraSpace and might not have known about LYRASIS.”
From LYRASIS, DuraSpace Leaders Discuss Dissolved Merger

Demonstration of a working Gutenberg printing press

The Crandall Historical Printing Museum has the "most complete and functioning Gutenberg Press in the world" and in this video you can see one of the museum's guides demonstrating it for some visitors.
From Demonstration of a working Gutenberg printing press
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How I used lies about a cartoon to prove history is meaningless on the internet

But like any worthwhile fiction writer, I believe my lies have highlighted an important modern truth: history is more mutable than it has ever been thanks to the explosion of information on the internet. We form rough consensuses based on vast amounts of conflicting data, but who really has the power to verify any of it? This is especially true when the stakes are low. A lot of people will put effort into dispelling rumors that the Moon landing was fake or that Hitler is still alive, sure, but who cares enough about something as meaningless and easy to ignore as Street Sharks to make sure all the information about it online is totally accurate? Some people do, which is why my lies were mostly removed, but that took years and they didn’t fully stamp out every online instance of Roxie or Meathook.
From How I used lies about a cartoon to prove history is meaningless on the internet | News | Geek.com
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Facebook begins tracking non-users around the internet

Facebook will now display ads to web users who are not members of its social network, the company announced Thursday, in a bid to significantly expand its online ad network. As The Wall Street Journal reports, Facebook will use cookies, "like" buttons, and other plug-ins embedded on third-party sites to track members and non-members alike. The company says it will be able to better target non-Facebook users and serve relevant ads to them, though its practices have come under criticism from regulators in Europe over privacy concerns. Facebook began displaying a banner notification at the top of its News Feed for users in Europe today, alerting them to its use of cookies as mandated under an EU directive. "Publishers and app developers have some users who aren’t Facebook users," Andrew Bosworth, vice president of Facebook’s ads and business platform, tells the Journal. "We think we can do a better job powering those ads."
From Facebook begins tracking non-users around the internet | The Verge

With no good libraries in Gurgaon, people exchange books online

Gurgaon is no city for those who like to spend hours in a library. The concrete jungle has over three dozen malls and over 1,000 swanky high-rise residential and commercial complexes, but it is still missing a well-equipped library. In the name of a public library, Gurgaon has one small building with dusty books, broken chairs and erratic power supply. The renovation work of this library near Civil Lines is progressing, but it will take a few months to set the infrastructure and procure new reads. But the city’s bibliophiles have found an alternative to their reading woes, thanks to online social networking. Book-lovers are depending on city-based social media groups to exchange and read books.
From With no good libraries in Gurgaon, people exchange books online | gurgaon | Hindustan Times
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The OKCupid data release fiasco: It’s time to rethink ethics education

In mid 2016, we confront another ethical crisis related to personal data, social media, the public internet, and social research. This time, it’s a release of some 70,0000 OKCupid users’ data, including some very intimate details about individuals. Responses from several communities of practice highlight the complications of using outdated modes of thinking about ethics and human subjects when considering new opportunities for research through publicly accessible or otherwise easily obtained data sets (e.g., Michael Zimmer produced a thoughtful response in Wired and Kate Crawford pointed us to her recent work with Jacob Metcalf on this topic). There are so many things to talk about in this case, but here, I’d like to weigh in on conversations about how we might respond to this issue as university educators.
From The OKCupid data release fiasco: It’s time to rethink ethics education | Social Media Collective

How Well-Read Are You in Science Fiction?

If a university offered a master’s degree in science fiction, how many novels would it expect a graduate student to know to pass comps? The number of books would have to be small enough to study in a few years. Wouldn’t the Canon of Science Fiction, books scholars of the genre designate as the most noteworthy, be this side of 200? What about a well-read amateur? Wouldn’t reading just 50 books, but of course, the defining 50, give anyone an excellent grasp of the genre?
From How Well-Read Are You in Science Fiction?
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42 Douglas Adams quotes to live by

7. “All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others.”
From BBC Radio 4 - Dangerous Visions - 42 Douglas Adams quotes to live by
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The Open Data Delusion

These legal difficulties should not hide the fact that Open Data is ultimately powerful when it represents a conversation between data experts inside the system and data users who access that system. And to see the system become mature and produce better services, it needs to keep that conversation alive, learn from it, and use its lessons to change.
From The Open Data Delusion - Broken Toilets
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Title Fights: Who Gets to Name an Author’s Book?

So what kinds of titles do publishers prefer? For starters, according to Garnett, they naturally favor “titles that are memorable and striking and, of course, that manage to communicate the flavor or feel of the book’s content and writing and sensibility,” though these are subjective criteria—both she and my own editor, Margaux Weisman at William Morrow, concede that the titling process amounts mainly to a gut feeling, informed by trial and error. (And it’s hard to imagine that they aren’t influenced by the desire for Google-friendliness or e-retail “discoverability”—think of the Twitter-friendly #GIRLBOSS—though nobody I spoke to claimed these were heavy considerations.) Titles are hashed out in biweekly meetings with the publisher, editor-in-chief, deputy publisher, digital and paperbacks publisher, and managing editor, and later in the process, marketing, design, and publicity departments, as well as the author and their agent.
From Title Fights: Who Gets to Name an Author’s Book?
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Out with bourgeois crocodiles! How the Soviets rewrote children's books

From the capitalist ice cream eater who came to a sticky end to the Malevich-inspired adventures of two squares, Bolshevik kids’ books sparked an avant garde revolution in illustration
From Out with bourgeois crocodiles! How the Soviets rewrote children's books | Art and design | The Guardian
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Canadian Libraries feel the eBook pinch

The book worm has turned. Local libraries are making noise about eBook prices, saying that they pay multinational publishers up to five times more than average consumers do for the same titles. And libraries — including ones in Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax and Vancouver — say they’d like things to change, so that they can pay according to their size and needs, rather than using the current one-size-fits-all model.
From Libraries feel the eBook pinch | Toronto Star
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Sherman Alexie On His New Kids' Book ('Thunder Boy Jr.') And The Angst Of Being A 'Jr.' : NPR

Alexie tells NPR's David Greene that he found inspiration for the book in a surprising place: his own father's funeral. "As they lowered the coffin into the grave, his tombstone came into view and on the tombstone is Sherman Alexie — his name, my name," Alexie says. "And I'd always struggled with being named after him, but the existential weight of being named after your father really, really becomes clear when you're looking at a tombstone with your name on it."
From Sherman Alexie On His New Kids' Book ('Thunder Boy Jr.') And The Angst Of Being A 'Jr.' : NPR
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China’s scary lesson to the world: Censoring the Internet works

Indeed, China’s Firewall is far more sophisticated and multi-tiered than a simple on-off switch: It is an attempt to bridge one of the country’s most fundamental contradictions — to have an economy intricately connected to the outside world but a political culture closed off from such “Western values” as free speech and democracy.
From China’s scary lesson to the world: Censoring the Internet works. - The Washington Post
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How copyright law is being misused to remove material from the internet

...but censorship using the DMCA is common online. The act allows web hosts a certain amount of immunity from claims of copyright infringement through what is known as the “safe harbour” rules: in essence, a host isn’t responsible for hosting infringing material provided they didn’t know about it when it went up, and took it down as soon as they were told about it. In practice, however, this means that web hosts (and the term is broadly interpreted, meaning sites like YouTube, Twitter and Google count) are forced to develop a hair-trigger over claims of copyright infringement, assuming guilt and asking the accused to prove their innocence.
From Revealed: How copyright law is being misused to remove material from the internet | Technology | The Guardian
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